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1776 Clothing
Nov 11, '13

In this article I will describe how I made the vest (waistcoat) and breeches. These two items provided the common everyday wear for men in the 18th Century. I used just over 3 yards of a cotton based brown linen like woven cloth. Linen thread of a matching colour and green embroidery silk to commentate Robert Magaw's Scots Irish Ancestry. This was a subconscious after thought and provided a neat finish for the buttonholes. When nearing completion I was pleasantly surprised to see that my subconscious had not only selected the correct colour of cloth but also the correct type of cloth worn in the summer heat of colonial America! I also then remembered that this had been the colour of my first ever made to measure suit in this life! Chosen from over 200 cloth samples.

The Breeches

1: I found some free 18th Century Patterns on the Internet. Originally in a French tailors book. Customers would select their garment from the book and then the tailor would make up the item to order.

Next I cut up the printout and using Sellotape made a 3D model of one leg. This gave me a feel and understanding for what I was trying to achieve. Then I measured my legs and scaled the drawing to fit using ratio technique.

2: After attempting to draw and make a full size paper pattern I gave up and instead went back to the technique I had used aged twelve when I made my first pair of blue and white striped Zouave trousers. I used an old pair of dissected pyjama bottoms! This time I used old jeans. Upon research I later realised that my first ever attempt at reconstruction had been of a Civil War Louisiana Tiger's Zouave uniform. After completing this project I realised that I was in actual fact subconsciously really making the uniform of the 5th Pennsylvania Battalion of which I as Robert Magaw was Colonel. They indeed used brown material with blue and white bed ticking being sometime used for breeches as cheaply available. I had mixed my two American lives together due to there closeness much as I had with my two close medieval lives. Each pair mirrored the other pair. So Medieval English Archer who died suddenly then Flemish Knight who lived a long time translates to repeating as American Revolutionary who died suddenly then Confederate Cavalry Man who lived to 84. Each pair fought on the opposite side, English/French; North/South. It is important to stress that this seems to be how the universe operates!

In order to save hand sewing time and effort I cut each leg from one piece of cloth thereby only having to sew the shorter inside leg seam!

3: Hand Sewing the legs was easy and the breeches took shape rapidly.

A fall down flap was then cut as can be seen.

4: Final flaps, pockets and waistband were then sewn. Button holes cut. Metal livery buttons procured from eBay and green embroidery added for embellishment. Draw strings of cotton were added to tighten the back to fit.

The finished result indeed very comfortable and functional to wear. I then realised why I had a yearning to but a pair of Leder Kniebundhosen whilst stationed in Germany when I worked for the British Armed Forces in this life! I particularly like the large French Fleur d'lys metal buttons I purchased. They add a real French Indian war (1756 - 63) feel to the finish garment in keeping with the Scots Irish French feel of the wild Pennsylvanian frontier that Robert knew.

My subconscious was so taken with them that I bought more to complete the vest with matching buttons.

The Vest

By contrast this was extremely easy to make! I used a one piece tube construction using the material I had left. This followed the rifle coat construction technique.

1: Basic cut and sew.

2: Tailoring to fit was achieved by pinning and trimming the seams in retrospect. A messy way of doing things but it worked and now I can use this one as a pattern to make future vest in the correct order of construction.

3: Final detail, buttons and trim.

You can see the draw string adjuster fitted to the back. The colour distortion is in the original photographs. The brown colour is more accurately shown above.

Final Result

A very practical and functional outfit that feels authentic when worn. Absolute time travel. My subconscious approves!!!! Experiment a 100% success :)

Nov 11, '13
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